Panocover for album titled: La Réunion lé la!

La Réunion lé la!The little island that has it all

As a quick summary of an insane trip : it involved going round the island in a tiny white wheelbarrow, using AirBnb’s every night except for the ones I spent in mountain refuges. There was some real badass hiking, beginner-paragliding, n00b-scuba-diving, a couple of museums and nature conservatories, oodles of sweat, mosquito bites, weird and delicious food, instant friendships… Not sure what more anybody could ask.

Three phone pictures. It took three iPhone pictures from a friend’s phone last winter to sell me the idea of La Réunion as a top-three travel destination. It had been a few years since my last far-away holiday as it took me a while to come to consider the idea of travelling alone but more and more people seemed to try and enjoy it, so why not? Last spring, I decided to just say fuck it! and purchased a plane ticket on a whim. I settled on a two-week trip in late September/early October : right at the end of winter, when temperatures are still livable and also comfortably far from cyclone season. The summer would be devoted to planning the thing.

La Réunion is pretty much a Luxembourg-size rock soaking in the Indian ocean, off the coast of Madagascar that got splurted out by volcanic activity a couple three million years ago. It’s very frequently described as an almost magical place where the most exuberant flora meets what geological activities can create when turned up to eleven. A unique cocoon for peaceful relaxation as well as thrilling adventures populated by the nicest and most welcoming people.

Imagine that two thirds of the people I happened to meet there weren’t born on the island. They were people who CHOSE to live there, because they wanted to and despite the fact that it was putting a good 9000 kilometers between them and their loved ones. That simple little fact says a lot in my opinion.

Sometimes dubbed l’Île Intense, the island is home to 200 different micro-climates. Moreover, those really recent volcanic origins mean that erosion hasn’t been able to do its job planing the sharp and brutal cliffs, mountains and circuses that make pretty much the entire surface of the island. Combined with its location on the globe (right on the Tropic of Capricorn), climatology, vegetation, etc. it has a feel of a tiny self-contained video-game world with a little bit of everything, but always with immense proportions.

The relief is such that in an hour’s worth of driving you can get from a sunny beach and a toasty 28 degrees to an ass-freezing mountain-top, engulfed in the clouds. One of the must-do hikes (and a rather tough one) goes from the town of Cilaos to the Piton des Neiges, the highest summit in the Indian ocean (3070 meters). Watching the sun rise on the entire island at the very top of that mountain and then (after a punishing climb downhill) being back on the beach to watch it set with a cocktail is a formidable experience.

Worth mentioning and then I’ll let you go: there’s also some magnificent primal forests to visit, delicious fresh fruit to enjoy and the local passion for “rhum-arrangés” to indulge in…

Somebody told me the Réunion makes you sob twice : when you arrive and when you leave… I’m not ashamed to say I sobbed a fuckton more than that 🙂

A wide-angle is gonna see a lot of use on the island, a standard lens will be needed too (but depending on its weight, you’re gonna have a bit of pondering to do before packing it for some of the big hikes). My telephoto lens took a nice ride along but spent pretty much the whole trip sleeping in the bag, which wasn’t exactly light due to the tripod…


  • Life-changing travel
  • Date(s) : late September, early October 2019
  • Location(s) :
    • Pretty much all around the Réunion island :
      • Saint-Denis
      • Cirque de Salazie (Salazie, Hell-Bourg)
      • Bélouve forest, Trou de Fer
      • Takamaka
      • Grand Bassin
      • Plaine des Remparts, Plaine des Sables
      • Piton de la Fournaise
      • Piton Sainte-Rose (Notre-dame des Laves)
      • Quai de Sel – Ancien Port
      • Cap Méchant
      • Saint-Philippe, Jardin des parfums et des épices
      • Vincendo, Cap Jaune
      • Cascade Langevin
      • Grande Anse beach
      • Cirque de Cilaos, Cilaos, Refuge de la Caverne Dufour, Piton des Neiges
      • Saint-Leu
      • Conservatoire Botanique National de Mascarin
      • Saint-Gilles-les-Bains, Boucan Canot
      • Le Maïdo


  • Canon EOS 5d mkIII
  • Canon EF 17-40 f4 L
  • Canon EF 24-70 f2.8L
  • Canon EF 200 f2.8L II
  • MeFoto GlobeTrotter tripod
  • Apple iPhone 6s